Rain and Ingram deny India in inconsequential T20

India's positive start to a difficult chase for 220 against South Africa was thwarted by the weather.

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The game's proceeds will go to the charity of Kallis, who made 61 in this game. JOHANNESBURG: South Africa inflicted upon India an 11-run defeat by the Duckworth-Lewis method after rain curtailed the one-off Twenty 20 at the New Wanderers Stadium here, on Friday night.

India elected to field and was set an imposing 220 target by a rampaging South Africa, helped by racy half-centuries by Jacques Kallis (61, 42b, 5x4, 2x6) and Man of the Match Colin Ingram (78, 50b, 8x4, 3x6). India began its reply in right earnest through Gautam Gambhir (49 n.o., 28b, 7x4, 1x6) and was advantageously situated on 71 for no loss in the eighth over when the rain came down, destroying a contest that appeared to be headed for a thrilling finish.

The par score for when the heavens opened was 82. Thus ended a largely pointless encounter – crammed into an already log-jammed schedule – that saw South Africa float in its ‘B’ side and India rush to the Rainbow Nation a few days ahead of the IPL hoopla.

Which is not saying the match was entirely devoid of entertainment. Sustained aggression through the first innings drove South Africa to 219 – its second-highest Twenty20 total. Richard Levi blasted four boundaries in a seven-ball stay at the crease, by the conclusion of which the host had raced off the blocks. Levi’s dismissal did little to deter the Proteas.

In Kallis – for whose charitable enterprise this Twenty20 was constituted – and Ingram they found able conspirators who allowed no slackening of pace. South Africa hurried to 50 in a shade over 5 overs as M.S. Dhoni changed his bowlers around to stem the flow of runs. Seven bowlers had been summoned for service inside the first 12 overs.

Ingram reached his maiden T20 half-century in 38 balls with a single off Virat Kohli and then watched Kallis tear into the bowler. The barrel-chested veteran hammered three consecutive boundaries – the first of which brought him his fifty — off Kohli and was out going for another biggie off R. Ashwin when Rohit Sharma held a skier at deep mid-wicket.

By this time South Africa had bulldozed their way to 141 for two in 15 overs, thanks to the blinding 119-run association between Kallis and Ingram. With thirty balls remaining and eight wickets in hand, India would have been justified in fearing the worst, and the worst indeed came about as debutant Farhaan Behardien joined Ingram, who was now comfortably settled in the middle and dealing exclusively in boundaries.

Vinay Kumar returned to bowl the 17th over and was greeted with a slashed six over backward point. The next delivery – marginally straying on the leg-side – was caressed to long-on for four. Twenty were plundered in Vinay’s over, at the end of which South Africa had surged to 168. Raina picked up Ingram on the first ball of the 18th, leaving the scene clear for Justin Ontong to ply his trade. Ontong did just that, and how! A six that sealed Raina’s penultimate over was just an appetiser.

It was when the part-timer returned to bowl the last over of the South African innings that the main course began. Ontong scored four and six off the first two deliveries, taking the total past 200, and was bowled on the third ball. The man who replaced him in the middle – Albie Morkel — drove a dagger into India’s belly with 6, 4 and 6 – bringing the cost of Raina’s final over to 26 runs. South Africa made 78 runs in the last five overs. India too looked on track to pay back in kind and who knows what might have happened if the weather hadn’t intervened.